What a strange July Fourth it made for... but then again, that's probably just as the North Koreans wanted it. I'm guessing the dynamic went pretty much the way it did at the gathering my family attended yesterday: friends and neighbors eating the food hot off the grill while shaking their heads at word of a strange and failed missile launch halfway across the world... on this nation's birthday. And imagine the gathering of the Bush family yesterday: A few guests, close family friends, in the residence portion of the White House, to celebrate the president's 60th birthday. Nothing like a series of National Security briefings to cap off a relaxing night with pals.
Cut to: NBC Nightly News headquarters, this morning: It was while we were discussing our elaborate coverage plans for the North Korea story during our morning editorial conference call... that our Dallas bureau chief mentioned that our local NBC Stations in Texas were chasing down a "rumor that Ken Lay has died." He had. That was a meeting-stopper. As the CNBC on-screen graphic just put it: an unexpected ending. And as a result: an unexpected story lineup in tonight's broadcast.
We'll have the whole team devoted to the Korea story tonight: from Miklaszewski to O'Donnell to Aspell to Mitchell. We'll also take a look at the man they call "Dear Leader" and his surprising personal life and possible motivations.
Because of headline stories about a link between hair dye and cancer in some morning papers, we'll have Robert Bazell take on that topic tonight. We'll also look at how immigration has come back as an issue in Washington (it never went away as an issue along our borders). There's also economic news out there today.
I'm off to begin the process, with my colleagues, of turning it all into understandable English... or at least trying to. We all hope you can join us tonight.